The Resurgence of KL Rahul.
When questioned about your job description, what might your answer be? It might be a generic doing this and that which will be repeated every day! But, if a JD exists for KL Rahul it might sound something likes this “You have to Bat at Number 5 and if required you need to open the innings, you need to field and we might use as a full-time wicketkeeper as well and last but not least you might be required to lead the side as well when the captain gets injured!” Now that’s a Job you can kill for! The young gun from Karnataka who coincidentally shares his name with one Rahul Dravid from the same region has definitely lived up to the reputation his name holds. But, it was not all roses and petals for KL, making his Test Debut in 2014 and scoring a 100 in that series against Australia has shown a glimpse of what this guy can do. But, lack of consistency has bogged Rahul at the start of his career. His selection subsequently was relied on players getting injured. He announced himself on the ODI scene with a majestic century against Zimbabwe and he was not able to back it up with consistent performances. All was about to change in 2018, he missed the 2017 IPL due to a shoulder injury and was not retained by RCB for 2018 season. He was subsequently bought by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping price of 11 crores INR, and he duly stood up to those numbers. In the first match of the 2018 season, he smashed a 14 ball half-century to silence his critics. He scored a whopping 657 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 158.7! But the worst was yet to arrive for KL and no it was not an injury or dip in form…it was “Koffee with Karan”…he along with Hardik Pandya was sent back to India from the tour of Australia and was banned until further notice the reason was about their comments made in that particular TV Show. This whole episode has put KL in a spot of bother….but he was not the one to fret he took all the criticism on his stride and went back to the drawing board and did what he does best. He had a very good IPL season, he smashed 593 runs at an average of 53.9 in 14 matches and earned a place for the world cup held in England & Wales. Shikhar Dhawan’s injury in CWC 19 has come as a blessing in disguise as he was promoted to bat at the top of the order and much like Rohit Sharma in 2013 KL has taken complete advantage of the responsibility given by the team management. Since then he has averaged 59.4 in ODI’s since he opened the batting and in that his average while opening the innings is 50.72 but his average while batting at other positions is a whooping 107.5 which speaks loads about his finishing skills. This situation reverses in T20I’s where his average when opening the batting is 50.34 and his average while batting at other positions is 37.5! But, the most surprising element among all this is the wicket-keeping abilities of KL, he was handed gloves when Rishabh Pant was sent off the field when a ball hit him on the helmet. Now everyone knows KL can keep wickets but nobody considered him to be a serious choice for the most coveted wicket keeper slot. KL had a very decent outing as wicketkeeper in this series against Australia and in the recently ongoing New Zealand series he has shown glimpses of the great MS when he made a ran Tim Seifert out in the 5th T20I, there was a massive mix up between the batsman and Sanju Samson threw at the strikers end, there was no one at the stumps to pick it up. Noticing this Rahul ran towards the stumps picked the ball and dived on to the stumps to affect the runout. Many fans and pundits appreciated the effort, where many mentioned MS might have done the same! In an interview given to ESPN Sports Centre, a 17-year-old KL Rahul spoke about how Rahul Dravid impacted his game and attitude towards the sport and right now he made sure his idol will be happy with his progress and performance. As far as the saying goes “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”, Rahul is damn sure making margaritas with them! What are you gonna do with your lemons?!